By Samantha Gluck
PMS - AnxietyAs the name implies, women experience the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) for one to two weeks before their monthly menstruation begins. For some women, these symptoms are very mild and barely noticeable, but for others the symptoms cause considerable emotional, physical, and psychological discomfort.

Don’t let PMS symptoms stop you from enjoying life.

Lifestyle Affects PMS Severity
Some research suggests that a woman’s lifestyle has a significant impact on the severity of PMS symptoms. Women, who smoke, drink excessive alcohol and caffeine, do not exercise, and get inadequate sleep experience more pronounced symptoms associated with PMS. Oral contraceptives may affect the severity of symptoms as well. Some women report that oral contraceptives make the symptoms worse, while others report relief from PMS as a result of the birth control pill. This difference is likely due to the type of pill taken and the individual body chemistry and metabolism of the woman taking them. Talk to your OB/GYN physician if you feel the birth control pill is making your PMS worse.

-Symptoms of PMS-

The physical conditions, associated with PMS, include bloating and water retention, breast tenderness, acne, uterine cramps, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Everyone’s body is unique and reacts differently to the hormonal changes that occur during a menstrual cycle. You may experience all or some of these symptoms; or a completely different set of physical discomforts during the time before your period.

Emotional and Psychological
Some women’s bodies are very sensitive to the hormonal fluctuations occurring during the menstrual cycle. These hormonal fluctuations can also cause dramatic emotional changes and behavioral deviations. Women, who experience considerable physical discomfort because of PMS, may also have mood swings, irritability, weepiness, depression, and changes in sexual desire. Make your OB/GYN doctor aware of any period of time where your depression, weepiness, and other PMS manifestations, seem out of control or seem to be interfering with your daily routine.

Treatments for PMS Relief
In addition to lifestyle changes, such as getting enough exercise and sleep; eating right; and limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine; you have other options available that may help relieve symptoms. The supplements calcium and B6 affect the endocrine system, which produces the hormones responsible for the physical and emotional discomforts of PMS in some women. Preliminary research shows that taking the recommended daily allowance of these supplements may help improve the physical symptoms of PMS and depression as well.

Many women find that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), relieve joint and muscle paint often present during the premenstrual period. One example of an effective NSAID is ibuprofen. Your OB/GYN may prescribe a class of anti-depressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for use only during the days leading up to menstruation. Birth control pills that contain estrogen and drosperinone, sold under the brand name YAZ, are effective in relieving all or most PMS symptoms.

Do Something About Your PMS Discomfort
Don’t let PMS symptoms interfere with your life anymore. Make an appointment at your local OB/GYN clinic to discuss your symptoms with a doctor. He or she can offer advice and, if necessary, prescribe medications to improve your symptoms.

By Samantha Gluck
Health and Medical Information for the Professional and Layperson

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